Blocked Fallopian Tubes: What Causes It?

Blocked fallopian tubes cause female infertility. Indeed, it is estimated that this cause is responsible for between 10 and 25% of cases of infertility in women in countries such as Spain.

To understand the medical importance of blocked fallopian tubes it must be said that, under normal conditions, these ducts connect the ovaries and uterus. If they are blocked, they do not allow the passage of the egg, which is produced in the ovary, to the uterus.

For the above, blocked fallopian tubes do not allow the meeting between the egg and the sperm. In these conditions it is impossible for fertilization to take place. However, in many cases this condition is reversible.

main symptoms

Positive pregnancy test in anembryonic gestation.
Blocked fallopian tubes prevent or hinder fertilization.

One of the problematic aspects of this condition is that blocked fallopian tubes rarely cause symptoms. In many cases, a woman only realizes this problem when she wants to get pregnant and she can’t.

There are also cases where this obstruction generates mild symptoms. Sometimes there is pain, not very intense, on one side of the abdomen. However, this only occurs in one type of blockage called a hydrosalpinx.

Furthermore, there may be symptoms when the cause is another problem such as endometriosis. Despite everything, the normal thing is that there are no obvious manifestations of the obstruction.

What can cause blocked fallopian tubes?

Blocked fallopian tubes are often the result of another condition or injury. There are several health conditions that can lead to this problem. Among the most common are the following:

  • set sail. It is an inflammation of the tubes following an infection. Because these ducts are very delicate, they can become blocked or damaged.
  • The hydrosalpinx. The normal thing is that it is the product of an infection, usually chlamydia or gonorrhea. In this case, the fimbriae which are found at the end of the fallopian tubes and which are essential for the egg to reach them from the ovary are blocked.
  • the pyosalpinx. It is an inflammation that occurs because the tubes are filled with pus and therefore blocked. If they rupture, they form an abscess in the pelvis.
  • endometriosis. In this case, part of the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. There may be an adhesion blocking the fallopian tubes.
  • pelvic surgery. This type of intervention can also lead to the appearance of an adhesion that blocks these ducts.
  • congenital. Sometimes blocked fallopian tubes are an abnormality present from birth.
  • caused blockage. When there is previous tubal ligament surgery.

How does it affect fertility?

As noted above, blocked fallopian tubes make fertilization impossible. This blockage prevents the meeting between the egg and the sperm; Therefore, pregnancy cannot occur.

In any case, it is important to clarify the matter. Not all blockages are equally severe. Two methods are recognized:

  • complete obstruction. Fertilization is impossible because the egg and sperm cannot meet.
  • partial obstruction. In this case there are difficulties for fertilization to take place, but it is not impossible. Some eggs pass the obstacle and therefore there is a chance that they will find the sperm.

Furthermore, in many cases only one of the fallopian tubes is blocked. If so, the egg can travel through one of them and therefore the chance of pregnancy is less, but it is valid.

Diagnosing blocked fallopian tubes

In addition to the fact that blocked fallopian tubes cause no symptoms, they can also happen to open and close. For all this, formulating the diagnosis is not easy. Because of this, You need to run tests like the following:

  • X-ray test. The most common is the hysterosalpingogram or HSG. A fluid is injected that should enter the fallopian tubes. Then, an X-ray is taken to see if it has flowed or has stopped.
  • Sonohysterogram. It is an ultrasound examination, very similar to the previous one.
  • Laparoscopy. It is the insertion of a tiny camera inside the body to examine the state of the fallopian tubes.

Laparoscopy is the more conclusive test, as under certain circumstances the other two give a false positive.. However, this procedure is an invasive method and is not always convenient to perform. If there are doubts, the usual thing is to repeat the exam and complete it with data from the medical history.

treatment available

Woman intubated before surgery.
Blocked fallopian tubes are treated surgically.

The treatment for blocked fallopian tubes is surgery.. There are different types of surgery and the one that best suits the type and location of the obstruction as well as the general condition of the patient will be chosen.

The types of interventions that can be performed in these cases are the following:

  • salpingectomy. It is performed for hydrosalpinx cases; that is, when the accumulation of fluid in the fallopian tube has occurred. It is done to facilitate fertilization in vitro.
  • fimbrioplasty. It is practiced when what is blocked is the part of the tube closest to the ovary. The goal is to reconstruct the fimbriae of the fallopian tubes.
  • Selective tubal cannulation. It is performed when the obstruction is close to the uterus. It consists of introducing a cannula, or tube, into the fallopian tube to unclog it.
  • tubal reanastomosis. It is performed when the tube is blocked due to illness or to undo a tubal ligation. It allows you to remove the obstructed portion and merge the remaining healthy portions.

The procedures are performed via laparoscopy or open abdominoplasty. They require hospitalization and a recovery period of four to six weeks.

Possibility of pregnancy after treatment

The success of treatment depends on the extent of the blockage and its location.. Fertility is also influenced by the age of the patient, the quality of the couple’s sperm and the level of damage to the fallopian tubes.

The type of surgery with the least risk is laparoscopy.. In all cases, there is a risk of an ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when the fertilized egg gets stuck outside the uterus.

Sometimes it is necessary to go through more than one procedure to treat blocked fallopian tubes and get pregnant. A leeway of 12 to 18 months is usually given before determining the success or failure of the treatment.

If the procedure is successful, it allows a woman to have multiple pregnancies in most cases. If it fails, the normal thing is that a fertilization is recommended in vitro or some other assisted reproduction technique.

Pregnancy is not a utopia

When a woman is undergoing surgery to unblock her fallopian tubes, she should inform her doctor as soon as she becomes pregnant. The goal is to check whether there is an ectopic pregnancy or not.

Blocked fallopian tubes are not a condition that permanently rules out the possibility of pregnancy. Treatment is very often successful and if not, there is still the alternative of assisted reproduction.

The Post Blocked Fallopian Tubes: What Causes It? first appeared on research-school

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